Understanding and confronting cultural complexities characterizing water, sanitation and hygiene in Sub-Saharan Africa

Emmanuel M. Akpabio, Kaoru Takara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article uses theoretical discourses on risk to engage in a review of cultural and religious concepts that challenge the achievement of universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the review, complex WASH behaviours evolve in relation to dominant situated experiences, often nested in cultural and religious beliefs and values, which tend to complicate risks and limit the attainment of universal WASH coverage in the subregion. The article argues that framing problems purely with respect to socio-economic limitations fails to account for the contextual triggers of WASH behaviours, making intervention programmes less likely to succeed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-932
Number of pages12
JournalWater International
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2014


  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • improvements
  • challenges
  • cultural complexities
  • WASH
  • water, sanitation and hygiene

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